Podcast editor Lydia Urice interviews Gloria Perry, the new Special School District area coordinator.
“I applied for Special School District, and they assigned me to Webster Groves High School and I am so glad to be here,” area coordinator Gloria Perry said.
Before she joined Webster through Special School District (SSD), Perry was a principal.
“I was a principal for many many years, a school principal, in the state of Illinois, but my background knowledge is in special education,” Perry said.
Before Perry was a principal, she was a special education teacher.
“I started my educational career as a teacher, a special education teacher, and I wanted to know more, so I went back to school and got my leadership degree, and so I started out as an assistant principal at the high school in Cahokia, Illinois, and then after about six years, I got my own building in the elementary school in Cahokia. It was Elizabeth Morris Elementary School. Then after that, I went to the middle school and was the principal for the sixth-grade center,” Perry said.
“That’s [the sixth-grade center] where I was for many years until I said you know what? I think I want to go back to special education. That’s where I am right now,” Perry said.
Her job now has many different components.
“As an area coordinator, I am an administrator for the special education teachers at Webster Groves High School, the paraprofessionals, the related services which would include occupational therapists, the speech and language teachers, and the support services that go along with students with special educational needs,” Perry said.
“Gloria is very nice to work with. She has a very calm demeanor and is very supportive of her staff,” SSD resource teacher Teri Pisciotta said over email.
Perry has worked with students from all different age ranges.
“I love the spectrum and diversity of it all because it’s all different, but it’s great information to know as a school leader. I pride myself in being a life long learner and I like to challenge myself with different things, and that’s how you stay on top of the changes in the education system,” Perry said.
“I really really enjoy when they [students] come back, and they let me know after they graduate from high school, what they have accomplished, or what colleges they have attended, or if they decide to go into the workforce, what they decide to do with their future. That is rewarding to me,” Perry said.
“My favorite part of my job is meeting different parents and the community in which I serve,” Perry said.
“The variety is so important to me because everyone is not the same, educational processes are not the same,” Perry said.
“I am a people person, I like to meet people face to face, this screen time really kind of annoys me. Just all the screen time and not taking a break from it is overwhelming. I just love the one on one interactions with individuals and right now, COVID has hindered it,” Perry said.
“Gloria is using this year to observe how everything works at Webster and then will look into ways to make improvements,” Pisciotta said over email.
“[We] just all have to wait and be patient at this point,” Perry said.
This will be Lydia Urice’s first year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her freshman year.